Profile PictureBrap Allgood

My Visual Philosophies

I wanted to share some of my philosophies held in creating these video clips, just to clear the air and for the fun of it. I don't approach things from conventional standpoints as a rule-- for success or failure to the eyes of others, no matter. It could be said that it takes quite a lot to capture my attention, but not sure what 'quite a lot' means in this instance. :) Anyway....

Why do the visuals have such a low frame rate?

I am working in such a way as to automatically take advantage of the resolution of music itself, of rhythm itself in musical form. If I limit the number of images used, it will default to matching music far easier than if I go off in frame count and play them back quickly. Yes, of course, I can then use what is animated to be the beat, yet...but I'm having a lot of fun treating it as drum machine patterns, which are generally always going to be chains of 16 beats, something I have a ridiculous amount of experience with in life, at this point. o_o

If I stick to a base 16/32/64/128 and play the images out like beats in how I alter or create them anew, I can then synch those loops to the beats themselves quite easily. The way the human mind works, associations are drawn when under the spell of perception. If you provide all the ingredients and shape it just so, a cake will be perceived, no matter the lie inside it.... Not that I'm lying, but I enjoyed the analogy. Anyway, 16 or 32 seem to work best in all of my experiments as yet-- but that is all this is, an endless experiment!

What does making bracelets have to do with making VJ videos?!?!

I spent many years and far, far more countless hours crafting individual, unique items that people could wear, in a way, by methods that I developed myself without any teaching. I had an idea that was so powerful, I kept having variations of it for nearly 20 years afterwards, putting the results on people all the while-- and from a home base of Big Sur, California, where people from all over the world travel every year, cuz it's awesome. I sat in public and decorated these folk for years on end, had amazing encounters-- but then all of that ended and I will never find a situation like I had again...and bracelets make and sell once, then some child breaks them. I like the idea of video clips because not only is it like having FREE BEADS, OMG, PIXELS ARE FREE BEADS, it's very similar in nature creatively.

I can play out any color combination I can devise, in any pattern I can devise, and the funnest ones wrap back into themselves. Of course, I plan to take this into NFT when I get really good at it, but I'm not concerned with that just yet, am completely focused on the creation of clips and getting better at that. I've been making videos for my own music projects for years, but I realized last year that this is an untapped resource in life-- barely tapped, anyway. I hate making music with money on the end of it-- that's a whole other post-- but I love the idea of doing visuals for money...cuz I already have, and plenty enough to still sit here and write things you are reading. I've survived a lot, never mind for now, but my options are not what most might have. THIS is an excellent solution if I can find a funding audience, though. And eventually, I'll get out with my own gear and perform my own library.

Why so much black and white and grayscale?

Firstly, you gotta understand how much I love Autechre. Sure, their music has plenty of color to it, but it's also the starkest thing in the world-- like listening to music sculpted from stone, something I am fond of doing myself for the fun of it. But really can just give it whatever colors you like with filters/effects, right? o_o Like, it's super easy when I do it, sooooo....have at it.

My primary interest is the interplay between dark and light. I am crafting shapes that move, or are perceived to move. This is a big subject, perception, but we can break it down to interplay of dark and light-- with color being a choice among others to the side. This is important.

Our senses have limits, though that can vary from individual to individual-- but limits for all, nonetheless. Keeping things grayscale is a quick and easy way to mess with that limit-- something some people call 'fun' in this world. I won't go off in detail on this, but I look at color as fun to have later-- and later is now, lately, by the way, and how. There will be a varied mix of color and not color appearing in my works, all I'm saying. Depends on which mode I am in when inspired and which mode is best to pull off what I am thinking of.

Why only 1080p

The funny thing is just how fancy 1080p feels to me after several decades of internet and computers and all that goes with it...but the answer is you don't need higher res and it just pushes the gear harder anyway. The human perception limit comes into play here...if you cannot perceive something better in higher resolution, there is no purpose to that being needed.

That said, let's get some money returned on my investments here and we'll see. My gear works almost flawlessly at 1080p, so that is where I stick-- same as I stick to 48kHz and 24-bit in Ableton-- it just works. I can remember using a 1200baud modem, dude. We may as well be living in Magic Land now, for all of the capabilities freely (HAHAHAHA) available now, right?

Why all the flashing?

Well, first you gotta understand that as I said before, all of these are experiments. Some work better than others...but the flashes will hit perfectly on some beats, helping the whole integration of sound and visual in the perception of the experiencer. I sometimes think of the flashes as hi-hats and/or snares, if that helps you.

But also...I am thinking of crowds of people in dark spaces. Flashes should be normal in most of those situations, so why not take advantage of it? It's been decades since I was involved in theater, but I was a stage manager for years, have participated in more productions than I can recall or ever will. I have a background in theater, lighting and sound in particular. I am thinking in those terms when you see the flashes. Try it live, with a crowd. ;) I'm adding in free lighting benefits, as I see it-- but you have to handle the synching to the tempo yourself, that's on you.

How do you make these, anyway

I start with individual images I create, usually in sets of 16 or 32, depends on the resolution aimed at, as I play back the frames about 7.5 times per second...about 2.1 seconds of video for every 16 frames, IIRC, on average. The process for the original frames is very complicated and varied, I cannot summarize that-- it's art, yo. But I can say I take the frames, save the project in the image editor, then save it again as a zip of the individual layers...and go make another until I have 16 or 32 of those in the series.

I then take those images and put them in a storyboard in a video editor, set the timing (usually) to a delay of 4 frames for each, at an overall rate of 30fps, play it back as a loop, observe...and then save it as mp4. (Why mp4? I dunno, tell me what else I should use and I'll try it.) Once I have a pile of them, I go through and see what clips might make sense by linking them up, sometimes inverting and/or reversing them to flow back into themselves for even smoother use-- sometimes you want a hard stop on the beat, sometimes you want a flow through it.... I think in these terms and I provide options, but I do NOT try to express much redundancy in the clips saved-- memory is cheap now, but jeez, it takes a lot. I am making bricks, not so much buildings. YOU make the buildings. I sure do. I am just aiming for cool bricks to play with...and if you line them up in sequence, it's like a toy building block set purchased.... I highly recommend playing with them out of sequence, though-- you'll get a lot more mileage, like drum loops.

Why are the images so...simple?

I am thinking of this long-term, personally, building from simple to complicated because that's just wisest. I understand that it's easy to mask a color out and just keep part of something, or blend to infunity til the cows go home. I assume you do, too, being a real-live VJ and such. I'm thinking in terms of what I can do with the clips myself, but also sharing because income is wiser than *not* income. Feeds me better, too. 2022 has been a rough one, lemmetellya.

One of the projects I have going is called 'Sidesies', to fill in the space left in centrally focused clips...but the stuff that spreads across the screen can also be layered for this. I again assume you understand that, so I'm rolling with the idea. My only real outlet for messing with these myself is doing some of my favorite music as videos. The way YouTube is set up now, many of my favorites are fair game for letting the revenue go to them, so I'll be getting more and more complicated in how I do those as well-- and if interested in me making music videos for you-- or reels for your club that you can synch to tempo and leave be for an hour or more, or anything else visual along the lines of my work going, I'm open: is a good contact point.

I learned long ago to dive in and do things simply until simple is boring, then add some complexity, then repeat. This is a way to learn things very naturally and very powerfully, all summed into a single sentence. Enjoy. :)


I will add to this FAQ of sorts as I think of things I was wanting to say, but it's usually in the midst of the creativity itself. Frankly, I'd rather get back to the making than talk about it, something familiar to many, many other artists in this world. :D But there is more to say and this is the place I will now do it.


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